Grace For The Journey
A life without rules and regulations would be no life at all. I’m sure we all think at times that we would like to live a life without rules and regulations, but it wouldn’t take long for our world to degenerate into utter anarchy. Our collective despairing cry would be for the return of rules and regulations!
But what is the reason of rules and regulations? Rules and regulations are designed to create boundaries and protect rights, in order to ensure that everyone in society behaves in such a way that a community can function, regulate, and work appropriately. When the rules and regulations are violated, consequences follow; for many, the fear of these consequences keeps them from committing violations. Doing what is right is driven by the fear of the consequence of doing what is wrong.
The result of rules and regulations can indeed control, constrict, and confine behavior. But rules and regulations can never transform the heart, which is the ultimate source of our wrong thinking and evildoing. Only the Gospel can do that, as the Bible powerfully explains in Colossians 2:20-23:
“Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not tough!”? These are all destined to perish with us, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
Rules and regulations can only go so far in controlling behavior. Eventually we all follow the natural desires of the heart, and those desires, if not directed by the Holy Spirit, ultimately lead to destruction and death. It is only the transforming power of the Gospel that can change the heart . . . only the Gospel which can radically and permanently change behavior. This change is motivated, not by instilling fear or inflicting guilt, but rather, out of a heart overflowing with thanksgiving to the One who has transformed our life . . . who gave us a new heart and a new spirit.
Rules and regulations were never designed to do for the human heart what only the Redeemer can do: make it alive, make it new, and make it beat for the things of God. Remember, it’s not about changing behavior. It’s about changing the heart, which will ultimately change behavior, and only the power of the Gospel can do that.
If you are in a position of influence in someone’s life as a parent, teacher, coach, etc., aim at changing behavior, and you may win the battle. But if you aim at changing the heart, you will win the war.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”